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PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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01:01:00

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Boston 10, Pentagon 9, Us 7, Hagel 6, Miami 6, America 5, Warner 5, New York 4, Washington 4, Paul Streckfus 3, Brown 3, The I.r.s. 3, Dr. Offit 3, Benghazi 3, U.s. 3, Macneil Lehrer 2, Judith Rodin 2, Katrina 2, Dr. Kenneth Offit 2, Jeffrey Brown 2,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    May 15, 2013
    3:00 - 4:01pm PDT  

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the obama administration was back on the defensive today, as attorney general eric holder faced questions on capitol hill over the i.r.s.'s targeting of conservative groups and the secret seizure of the a.p.'s phone records. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, we follow up with a closer look at the i.r.s.'s independence and new developments on the story. >> ifill: then, margaret warner reports on more troubling allegations of sexual assaults in the military, as leaders charged with protecting victims are accused of abuse. >> brown: spencer michels has the story of a push by the san francisco police to increase the use of surveillance cameras in the city in the wake of the boston bombings. >> everybody likes video, juries
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like video, investigators like video, prosecutors like video, and i think, looking at the boston marathon, they made that case off of video. >> ifill: judy woodruff examines a new $100 million push to help a hundred cities weather disasters, both natural and man-made. >> so much of climate change that's already occurred is leading to these huge shocks, huge storms, wind, hurricanes, and cities are going to have to adapt to that. >> brown: and we close with the angelina effect: why women choose surgery even before a cancer diagnosis and the broader medical decisions faced by those at highest risk. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> more than two years ago, the people of b.p. made a commitment to the gulf. and everyday since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we shared what we've learned so that we can all produce energy more safely. b.p. is also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: twin political storms gathered more force today over potential misdeeds at the i.r.s. and the seizure of reporters' phone records. the u.s. attorney general faced questions before the house judiciary committee, and the administration came under new criticism. >> now, my question isn't about who's going to resign. my question is who is going to jail over this scandal. >> ifill: house speaker john boehner led the way this morning, as republicans stepped up demands for action in the scandal at the internal revenue service.
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>> there are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse. someone made a conscious decision to harass and to hold up these requests for tax-exempt status. >> ifill: that followed last night's release a report from a treasury department inspector general. it found: and there was more: "u.s.a. today" reported that during the same period, the i.r.s. "approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups." on the senate floor, republican minority leader mitch mcconnell pressed the white house to make sure the i.r.s. cooperates fully with congressional investigators.
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>> these allegations are serious, that there was an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those the administration disagreed with, in the middle of a heated national election. it could be criminal. and we're determined to get answers. >> ifill: mcconnell and the other 44 republicans in the senate signed a letter to president obama demanding full compliance. white house press secretary jay carney said today the president is committed to getting to the bottom of what happened. >> he expects people to be held accountable if they engaged in inappropriate activity, inappropriate conduct. he expects the treasury department and the i.r.s. to take all the necessary actions to ensure that this kind of thing cannot happen again. >> ifill: attorney general eric holder has already begun a criminal investigation into the i.r.s. matter, but some lawmakers see larger patterns at
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work. republican congressman steve chabot of ohio: >> i believe there has been a pattern by this administration in not taking responsibility for failures, avoiding blame, pointing the fingers in somebody else's direction. would you agree with that? >> uh, no. >> i thought you might say that. i think a lot of people do, including myself and i think a lot of members of this committee, we might be divided obviously. but these are very significant things which have occurred here and i would strongly encourage this administration to get out front, get all the facts out, let the chips fall where they may. i think that's in the best >> i would agree with that last... last part of your statement. it is one of the reasons why i ordered the investigation last friday. i can assure you and the american people that we will take a dispassionate view of this. this will not be about parties, this will not be about ideological persuasions, anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable. >> ifill: still, house republicans have frequently accused holder of stonewalling their investigationseven
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citing him for contempt. that bad blood was on sharp display when holder's leading critic, california congressman darrell issa, complained the department failed to hand over e-mails in another matter, involving the civil rights division. >> i will certainly look at the request. it's not something i've personally been involved with, but i'll look at the request and try to be as responsive as i can. i'm sure there must have been a good reason why only the to and from parts were provided. >> yes, you didn't want us to see the details. mr. attorney general... >> no, no, that's what you typically do. no, i'm not going to stop talking now. you characterize something... ( cross talk ) that is inappropriate and it's too consistent with the way you conduct yourself as a member of congress. it's unacceptable and it's shameful. >> ifill: holder also faced criticism from lawmakers on both sides about the justice department's decision to subpoena phone records of the associated press. it's part of an investigation
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into leaks about a failed terror plot last year. the attorney general says he recused himself from the probe early on, because he was one of the officials who had access to the information that was leaked. instead, he named his deputy, james cole, to handle the matter, and cole, in turn, made the decision to seek the phone records. california democrat zoe lofgren pressed him on that decision. >> this is both an ongoing matter and an ongoing matter about which i know nothing. so i'm not in a position really to answer that question. but here's what i do think. i do think that at the conclusion of this matter and when i can be back involved in it. that given the... the attention that it has generated is some kind of after action analysis would be appropriate. >> but it seems to me the damage done to a free press is substantial and will continue until corrective action is taken
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and i would hope that we might be able to further pursue this mr. chairman and get some clarification on future action either through legislative efforts or through further revision of the code of regulation by the administration because i think this is a very serious matter that i think concerns all of us no matter our party affiliation. >> ifill: white house officials, meanwhile, said the administration will support new efforts to pass a media shield law. and on the i.r.s. scandal, the agency's acting commissioner, steven miller, is due to testify before the house ways and means committee on friday. >> brown: we'll have more on the i.r.s. in the hot seat ahead. also ahead: sexual assaults in the military; surveillance cameras in san francisco; a new push to prepare cities for natural disasters and the angelina effect. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman.
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>> holman: the white house has released 100 pages of e-mails and notes on the fatal attack on u.s. diplomats in benghazi, libya. the documents describe how officials developed talking points about the attack. last week, it came out that state department officials and others lobbied to remove references to al-qaeda and previous warnings. white house officials deny there was any intent to deceive the public. the u.n. general assembly called again today for a political transition in syria, but with less support than before. an arab-backed resolution condemned president bashar assad and his troops for using heavy weapons during the more than two-year-long conflict. 107 of the 193 member nations approved the declaration. last year, 133 nations supported a similar resolution. a series of bombings across iraq today killed at least 33 people. it started in the northern city of kirkuk, where two car bombs exploded in the same area an hour apart.
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seven people were killed including two children. later, bombs exploded in shi-ite sections of baghdad, two dozen iraqis died there. scores more were wounded. palestinians today marked the 65th anniversary of the "nakba" or "catastrophe"-- the name for the displacement of palestinians during the 1948 war over israel's creation. tens of thousands marched in rallies across gaza and the west bank. in east jerusalem, palestinian protesters clashed with israeli police officers. a police spokesman said 19 demonstrators were arrested. nasa may be losing one of its stars: the kepler orbiting telescope. kepler searches the heavens for other planets, but the space agency said today the telescope has lost the ability to control its position. if the problem can't be fixed, kepler's planet-hunting days will be over. since 2009, the telescope has discovered 132 planets and
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spotted signs of another 2,700 possible planets. wall street kept up its forward progress today. the dow jones industrial average gained 60 points to close at 15,275. the nasdaq rose nine points to close at 3,471. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> ifill: we return again to the issue of sexual assault in the military, as yet another shoe drops at the pentagon. margaret warner has more. >> warner: the army announced late yesterday that a sergeant who handled sexual assault cases at fort hood, texas is being criminally investigated on sex crime allegations. no charges have been filed. in response, defense secretary chuck hagel ordered the pentagon to re-train, re-credential and re-screen all military recruiters and sexual assault prevention officers. the latest revelation comes just ten days after the air force's sexual assault prevention chief was arrested on charges of sexual battery. and a pentagon survey last week estimated that 26,000 military members were sexually assaulted last year.
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joining me to discuss all this is craig whitlock of the "washington post." craig, welcome back to the program. >> thank you. >> warner: so the situation at fort hood, what is alleged to have happened? >> well, criminal investigators from the army are looking into allegations that the sergeant committed sexual abuse involving multiple women and in one case they're looking into allegations that he may be charged with pandering. that's military crime speak for essentially organizing prostitution. so i think this is a case that not only is it bad enough and shocking enough that a sexual prevention officer was involved in this kind of crime, but i think people on capitol hill, lawmakers, are really baffled by this that someone could be placed in the kind of position that he was. >> warner: and, of course, the air force colonel last week was also in this field. but explain secretary hagel's response yesterday, even though
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there has been a drip-drip with these cases. why did he respond now the way he did with this new program? >> well, i think he -- the pentagon scrambling to figure out how it should respond. they're realizing this is a systemic problem not an isolated case-by-case that they have a real difficulty here in prosecuting, identifying sexual assault cases, handling victims, 18 people feel comfortable with reporting these sort of crimes so what he did last night is he announced that the pentagon is going to retrain, rescreen, recredential all 9,000 sexual assault prevention officers in the military as well as 20,000 recruiters. and i think the attempt to s to make sure no other people with problematic backgrounds are in those jobs. >> warner: you reported that military recruiters there have been problems involving them and very young women.
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>> there was a case in maryland where an army recruiter was involved in a murder/suicide with a young woman. he wascruiting her for army. there was a case in alaska just this month where someone was found guilty in a marine -- and the marine jury gave him no jail time and the pentagon doesn't track these cases in terms of statistics so they're scrambling there. >> warner: describe the pressure secretary hagel is under from the hill and the outrage and where that's leading potentially. >> well, lawmakers have been expressing concerns about sex crimes in the military for a number of years but these cases, these reports have fueled their concerns and what i think we're going see is legislative change. the pentagon has resisted any change to military law that would take power away from commanders to investigate or oversee these cases. but there's a powerful push among female law makers to make changes to military law in that regard. >> warner: like senator
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gillibrand. why are military commanders-- and all the way up into the pentagon-- so resis tonight the idea of transferring -- giving the authority to prosecute these cases to military lawyers? >> that's a good question but to answer that you have to understailitary cultu the commanders have the power and authority over everything within their units and they're charged with this very important responsibility of taking care of their people, of overseeing good order and discipline to take that power away from military commanders, in essence, as a way of saying they were unable to handle this problem that they can't be trusted with that. i think a lot of them, particularly the honorable ones, are unkrtable with that. there are others who say, yeah, this is a problem, we're not legally trained, we're not judges that we should hand this off to legal professionals and that would save them headaches and that's the battle we're seeing right now on capitol hill. >>. >> warner: and where is secretary hagel on this?
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i noticed his spokesman wrote a letter to the "new york times" disputing the way secretary hagel's views were characterized. >> well, that's right. but i think his views have changed on this chain of command whether commanders will have the ultimate responsibilities for these cases or not. i was there when hagel was asked last week at a press conference do you support this or not and he was direct in saying no, we don't want to take this responsibility away from commanders. in just a matter of days they backed off that. now senator gillibrand told me she talked to hagel after that and she put the screws to him and said while he's listening he's keeping an open mind so i think we are seeing some changes in the pentagon's receptiveness. >> warner: craig whitlock of the "washington post." thank you. >> sure thing. >> brown: president obama made a >> brown: the investigation into
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the boston bombings has sparked a new interest in the use of surveillance cameras in cities around the nation. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels has our report. >> reporter: americans are used to being watched on closed circuit tv. cameras are unibiquitous, especially in large cities. the video surveillance industry brings in $3.2 billion a year and it's expected to grow quickly, especially after the boston marathon bombings. at one business in san francisco, 22 cameras continually watch employees and guests enter and leave the building and drive their cars into and out of the garage. it's all recorded for future use. a guard monitors the cameras in real time and one night recently those cameras caught this scene: a woman employee going to her car on the street, while a male watches her and starts to follow. as he circles back to her car, for some reason, he sees other vehicles approaching and he makes a quick exit.
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would the cameras have helped had there been a crime? could their more obvious presence have prevented one? it's all part of today's debate over surveillance. >> if you could have a bird's eye view. >> reporter: san francisco's police chief-- like many chiefs through the country-- is convinced that cameras can make a big difference. and these days they are pointing to boston and the identification of two suspects, as an argument to expand their use. chief greg suhr has made a controversial plea to the board of supervisors for increased camera surveillance of his city, especially along the route of upcoming races and parades, starting by finding what already is in place, and what isn't. >> we want to map all the cameras up and down market street. in boston, they went through hundreds and thousands of hours of video and were able to make that case in days. >> reporter: in an interview, the chief told me video evidence is almost expected these days. >> everybody likes video, juries
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like video, investigators like video, prosecutors like video. and i think looking at the boston marathon, they made that case off of video, so i proposed that we find out what we have, both private and public along our main parade route and see if we can't identify blind spots. >> reporter: what the chief is concerned about right now is security for a series of popular upcoming events: the bay to breakers, a colorful footrace from the bay to the pacific ocean which attracts thousands of runners and perhaps 100,000 spectators and where backpacks were recently banned. the pride march that every year features gays, lesbians, transgender, bisexuals in outlandish costumes traipsing through the city, before a big audience. demonstrations surrounding the contentious issues of same sex marriage and immigration, which take place frequently in the bay area.
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and the america's cup races, this summer in the bay, with thousands expected to watch from the shore. the city is gearing up for these events with bomb sniffing dogs and help from the f.b.i. but police say they welcome any help. for all the cameras on its streets, most in high crime areas, san francisco does not allow real time monitoring of city-owned surveillance cameras; the video can only be viewed afterwards, if there's a crime. but after boston, the chief wants to modify that policy for big events. and that has set off a debate. >> that would be another set of eyes, i mean, obviously the packages in the marathon were on the ground for a period of time, and they went undetected. >> reporter: but that's real time kind of monitoring which you say that you're not allowed to do. >> my ask would be that we go away from the city policy where we don't monitor in real time, where we have tens of thousands
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of people and the crowds along our major parade routes. these events are on television regardless. >> reporter: after boston, surveys show that 70% of americans support surveillance cameras as a way to reduce crime. >> it's a great thing if you're able to catch somebody. i have no problem with them as long as you're not doing anything illegal. most of the time i'm unaware they're even there, so i think it's great. >> reporter: but not everyone is so comfortable with the chief's proposal. >> i think he's already watching us enough, you know, look at all these cameras. like me and my brother were just chilling, because of the cameras, they said move. it can be bad, and racially profiling at the same time. >> reporter: american civil liberties union attorney nicole ozer is also worried about cameras invading privacy in a politically active city where that has long been an issue. >> cameras are ripe for abuse.
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they're taking footage of... of people engaged in political protests. cameras don't prevent terrorism. they don't reduce violence. cameras didn't prevent or reduce violence in london, they didn't prevent or reduce violence in boston, and it's essential that we not trade our privacy and free speech rights for just the illusion of safety. >> reporter: ozer maintains that san francisco's cameras, installed to prevent crime, like those in many other cities, have not achieved their goal. and she cites a study made by researchers at the university of california berkeley, led by assistant professor of information deirdre mulligan. >> what we found in san francisco with respect to this set of cameras is that they didn't have the desired effect, which was really about reducing violent crime. and one can imagine if you deploy cameras, for example, to deal with terrorists, many terrorists are planning to die anyway, right, and the fact that
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they're being filmed in their moment of martyrdom isn't really going to deter them. >> reporter: mulligan contends the police can't rely on cameras. >> you need people on the ground, right? there are millions of backpacks, right, and knowing when somebody puts down a backpack and whether of not that's a suspicious activity, when you're miles away in a camera booth and you've been watching footage for eight hours that day is really a tall order. >> reporter: still, in the face of such objections from civil rights advocates, the police chief is not backing down. chief suhr sees video technology as promising. >> they have cameras now that are so sophisticated that they have video analytics in them where you can say things like a package cannot be on the ground for more than 30 seconds, and the camera will actually box the item and send off an alert to whoever is monitoring the cameras >> reporter: that's the kind of techniques they're developing at 3vr. using computer programs they can search large quantities of video looking for people, or cars, or
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objects without someone actually looking at the screen for hours. >> it would allow you to cut down on your search time exponentially, by the power of ten. >> reporter: and it's all done by the machine, by the computer. >> yes, that's correct. >> reporter: i don't have to look for this guy, oh there he is, there he is. >> correct. once we have this facial biometric parameters captured, its indexed within our database, then we match similarities to that facial profile, if you will, and bring up all the similarities to that face. >> reporter: and they can do the same thing with suspect cars that are recorded on a given street, using color, size and direction to make the match. joe boissy, 3vr's marketing officer, says the potential is great. >> a computer vision algorithm allows you to understand the pixels, the frames, what's happening in that video, and from that extract the information that you need, such as the facial characteristics, the license plate itself, the color, the height, the age, the
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gender, any kind of demographics of individuals can be extracted from the video. >> reporter: but, warns boissy, even his company's machines can't be expected to work wonders. >> the reality is when you watch "24", when you watch "csi," you have an ideal situation. i find a guy, then run facial recognition, then find him. this is theory and fiction more than reality. that reality is that in certain conditions, yes, it is easy. with the right lighting conditions, yes, you can do that. but in most of the cases, you have situations which are not ideal, but still enough to help you out going into your search in a much faster way. >> reporter: meanwhile, san francisco is already gearing up for the bay to breakers race on may 19. the police won't be able to make any changes by then, but the chief hopes to finish his mapping of surveillance cameras- - public and private-- by the end of june, when the big pride parade marches down market street.
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>> ifill: president obama made a statement about the i.r.s. scandal just a few minutes ago. he spoke in the east room of the white house. he spoke at the east room of the white house. >> first, we're going to hold the responsible parties accountable. yesterday i directed secretary lew to follow up on the i.g. audit to see how this happened and who was responsible and to make sure that we understand all the facts. today secretary lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the i.r.s. because given the controversy surrounding this audit it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward. second, we're going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again. and i've directed secretary lew to ensure the i.r.s. begins
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implementing the i.g.'s recommendations right away. third, we will work with congress as it performs its oversight role. and our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with congress to get this thing fixed. congress-- democrats and republicans-- owe it to the american people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and a way that doesn't smack of politics or partisan agendas because i think that one thing that you have seen is across the board everybody believes what happened as reported in the i.g. report is an outrage. the good news is it's fixable and it's in everyone's best interest to work together to fix it. >> brown: and we pick up on some of the latest developments and lingering questions on the i.r.s. story and more. for that, we're joined by: josh gerstein of politico, who covers the white house specializing in legal and national security issues. he was at today's house hearing. and paul streckfus, creator and editor of "e.o. tax journal"--
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a weekly newsletter focused on tax exempt organizations. welcome to you both. well, josh, the president felt he had to come out and do something quickly. >> pelley: yeah, jeff, this is a white house in firefighting mode today, not just on the i.r.s. story but on the benghazi story and as well as its a.p. leaks investigation. just a clear initiative from the white house to try to put some cold water on all these stories and to do it as quickly as possible so they can turn the page and get back to some of the policy items on their agenda that they're eager to deal with. >> brown: he said the other day that the outrage was there but he was waiting for the inspector generals report. we heard him refer to that. that came yesterday. >> right. and this has been a very difficult story for the white house because it's not an agency that the white house has much control over for obvious reasons dating back to the nixon years. and suddenly they find themselves confronted with a plitally volatile controversy at an agency where they stress that they have only two presidential appointees.
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so it took name while to get into a proactive mode to knock this down. >> brown: well, paul streckfus, tell us a little bit about this independence and who's who here. first of all, the acting director who's just left or been resigned, i guess, is the way to look at it. >> i personally feel that it's a loss for the american taxpayers and the i.r.s. that steve miller has been forced out. he's a dedicated public servant. there was nothing in the report that said that there was any political favoritism. true there appeared to be some managerial incompetence but i'm not sure you force someone out on that basis especially when that individual probably in the best position to make the reforms that are needed. >> brown: how much independence does the i.r.s. have in making the kinds of decisions about
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tax-exempt status and the kinds that are being -- so much in focus right now? >> well, they are supposed to be independent there's -- i believe it's a law that says the white house cannot dakt i.r.s. commissioner or anyone at the i.r.s. directly. those contacts have to be done through the treasury secretary jack lew. so it's possible that the white house could have some impact but they'd have to do it through treasury secretary, he would then have to talk to the commissioner. he would then have to talk to his employees. having worked at the i.r.s., i know that would get out to the public very quickly from that kind of activity was occurring. so it seems to me that much of a talk is about political favoritism and yet i see very little evidence that there was an intent to go after the tea party groups and let others have a free pass. >> brown: well, what kind of firewalls exist to prevent
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politics from entering into these kinds of decisions. >> well, just as i said, the white house is isolated. the i.r.s. is very much non-partisan. most folks at the i.r.s. are not involved in politics. it's -- from day one you're told not to favor any particular group or individual. if you are a new employee and you did someone would quickly come by and say, you know, we cannot bullpen taking positions. >> brown: but that's the question because there is this new question of potential rogues within the agency. could it be isolated to a few people or is there enough oversight that somebody would see this, somebody would step in? who would that somebody be? >> well, it could be anywhere on the chain. i recall many years ago when i was at the i.r.s. there were two individuals who actually were able to sort of put their views
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into action through their position. but the supervisors and others quickly became aware of what was going on and stepped in and basically separated them and said "this is not the way we operate." i follow this exempt organizations area over the years and followed the i.r.s. function very closely. i see no evidence that anyone there is involved in favoring republicans over democrats or vice versa. >> pelley: but even with these revelations about looking at the names of organizations with "tea party" with other such names? >> well, that was a mistake. but the idea was in 2010 or wherever the -- that was when the tea party movement started springing up. they then all started sending in these applications. the reality is tea parties seem
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to be a lot like many political parties. if that's the case, they belong under section 527 of the code, not 501c4 but the only reason they're come in for c 4 is because you don't to disclose your donors. >> brown: well, clearly, republicans -- you were at the hill today. they see it quite differently that this was clearly targeting one side and others were not -- others were essentially getting a pass. >> they view it as intentional targeting and they're angry not only about that but they believe the senior i.r.s. official lied to them. we had a republican member say that lois lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division at the i.r.s., lied to him specifically and lied to his staff and obviously with holder talking about a criminal investigation into all this he mentioned that false statement charges are among the criminal statutes that they're looking at in this investigation. so they're eager to get to the bottom of it and i was kind of surprised that republicans seemed to be satisfied with the notion of a criminal investigation by the justice
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department. we didn't hear talk of a special counsel, not today any way. phenomenon. >> brown: but they are looking at the chain, right? of -- because, again, we're looking at people in a cincinnati office or in a washington office, what's the chain? how far does it go? >> right. i mean, the cincinnati thing i think is a ken t kennard because that handles all the exempt organizations because it happened to be in cincinnati. it seems to down play it as a regional problem and it was a national problem and they don't believe corrective action was taken promptly enough here and with something of this senseive thety that may be why mr. miller's resignation was called for. it wasn't his fault that was this was done. in fact, most of it happened on his predecessor's watch but maybe he didn't act qifly enough and was not candidate enough with congress. >> brown: i heard in some of the hearings today when i was listening there was this question ofsy s the i.r.s. independent or not? that's still out there, right? a report to jack lew, the treasury secretary, he reports
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to the president. these the questions. >> it's officially a treasury agency so it's not completely inspect, you do have an unusual five-year term for the i.r.s. commissioner but these the questions that are swirling and the republicans were suggesting this is not a problem that the president can completely divest himself and wash his hands of. it appears the president and his advisors agree given the prominence of this announcement tonight going on national television to announce that that he's dismissed the acting i.r.s. commissioner. >> brown: not an end, though. more hearings. >> no, you'll have the ongoing criminal investigation into what happened here. but it's an effort to maybe move this this to the inside pages of the newspaper instead of the front page. >> brown: josh gerstein, paul streckfus, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: now, helping cities better prepare for natural disasters and extreme weather. judy woodruff has the story
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>> woodruff: the damage caused by major weather events in recent years has often been enormous, costly, and led to bigger problems. cities and towns flooded by superstorm sandy, electrical power grids taxed beyond their capacity during extreme heat waves, and the flooding caused by both hurricane katrina and the levees themselves that were not adequately designed for the storm. scientists say no one disaster linked with climate change, but they also say some may be linked with climate change and the rise in greenhouse gases. last week, the government reported that carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas, h reached its highest levels in human history. now the rockefeller foundation is hoping to spur cities to create new plans to better adapt to the times and to make them more resilient when disaster does strike. the program will allocate $100 million to 100 cities around the world over the next three years. we look more closely at that
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with judith rodin, the president of the rockefeller foundation, and miami's mayor tomas regalado. for the record, the rockefeller foundation has been a newshour underwriter. welcome to you both. judy rodin, to you first. tell our audience what you mean by "resilience"? >> resilience is really the ability to withstand shocks more effectively and to rebound more quickly. so it's capacity that can be learned. it's built into individuals, to communities, to systems and institutions and in this era where we don't know where the next type of storm is going to come from but we know pretty certainly that it's going to happen, building in the ability toll withstand is really a huge preventative effort and very, very needed. >> warner: we've heard so much about sustainability, about preserving the environment and yet just a few days ago we heard the carbon carbon dioxide levels are at their highest numbers in
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human history. does this suggest what you're doing suggest that is the fight to keep the environmentle from going off the deep send over and now it's about surviving the worst? >> no, not at all. this starts with the assumption that we have to continue sustainability and mitigation strategies but it also understands the reality and once every hundred year storm becoming once a week storms somewhere that so much of climate change that's already occurred is leading to these huge shocks, huge storms, wind, hurricane, tsunami and cities are going to have to adapt to that at the same time they're building their excellent and overdue sustainability and mitigation strategies as well. >> woodruff: what are some examples, judy rodin, of what cities need to be thinking about and doing? >> well, cities need to build
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redundancey need to build in the capacity to wall off a piece of a system if it fails so that the entire system isn't taken down. let's use a smart grid. as i worked on the commission, chair the commissioner for governor cuomo in the recovery of new york state from superstorm sandy, we looked at putting in-- and the governor is recommending-- this smart grid technology. and it really does youth both sustainability and resilience principles because it takes energy from any source, traditional sources as well as alternative energy sources, and it uses which ever one is both most available and the lowest cost at any single time through a very complicated monitoring system. then it's also able to draw from geographically any part of the system. so if one part goes down it can draw from another part. so there's a delinking in the networking as well as redundancy in the system that really does
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create the resilience that the electric -- that the electricity system is going to need going forward in every city. >> woodruff: mayor regalado, as mayor of the huge city of miami, what does an initiative like this mean to you? what would it mean for miami to be the recipient of one of those grants? what kinds of things would you be able to do that you can't do now? >> well, i think it's important for miami and i think it's a great program. miami checks all the boxes because we are on the coast. construction has been wild. and we have, like, 70,000 people living right on the edge of the water so the storm surge, the storms will affect -- you know, we live on the edge from june to november. that's hurricane season and we haven't had a hurricane since katrina and wilma but what do we do with that money?
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well, number one we could have one person, one office dedicated year round to look at the way to outreach and get through the people and especially to invest in technology. so when we have a storm, the first thing that happens here in miami is electricity goes off and then we can use that technology to reach out to first responders and all that. the fire department is the agency in charge of responding to emergency, as you know, and they are in charge of our emergency system. but they have to do other things throughout the year. so if we could have one office, one person and some money for technology, it will be fantastic because we will be always prepared. >> woodruff: and mr. mayor, just staying with you, what about the idea -- people have looked at something like this and they say
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"well, that's typically the function of government, not of the private sector. not of a nonprofit, a foundation to be doing this." how do you feel about accepting money like there from a foundation if you were to receive it? >> well, you know there is a new normal now in the united states after the economy went bad, cities have to cut budgets and it's unfortunate live that that's the way it is. so the new thing is to partner with the private sector and i think that it's important that foundations like the rockefeller foundations will understand that governments do need help for a specific reason. you know, we are not -- we don't want a million dollars just to add it to the general fund but for a specific something. going outside our general budget it will be fantastic and i think that the people will appreciate it. because it is there as a buffer to warn them, to inform them and
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to tell them that we are always ready during the year. >> judy, this is not just to replace government. certainly this is not enough money to even imagine doing that. the role of philanthropy is to be leverage and risk capital and here there's going to be billions of dollars in infrastructure that are necessary in cities like the mayors around the world. and our goal is to help and give the technical assistance and the support so that the cities can really access private sector capital that right now is sitting on the sidelines waiting to invest in this kind of infrastructure in public/private partnerships. if t mayor has just done a brilliant one in the port of miami and so he knows what the example is, but we've been struck. even knowledgeable mayors around the united states don't yet know the kinds of technical and policy framework that might be best for their cities to crowd in the private capital and make
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them partners in building resilient infrastructure. >> woodruff: well, it's a fascinating venture getting under way right now. judith rodin, the president of the rockefeller foundation and mayor tomas regalado, the city of miami. we thank you both. >> thank you. >> brown: online we have a roundup of how escalating natural disasters have affected communities across the country. >> ifill: finally tonight, dealing with the risks of breast cancer. angelina jolie's surprise disclosure that she had a preventive double mastectomy three months ago, has opened the door to a wider conversation. the 37-year old actress and director announced her decision in yesterday's "new york times," writing:
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jolie carries the genetic mutation b.r.c.a.-1, which places her at a much higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. but how have, and how should other women deal with the risks inherent in this surgical option? for some expert insight, we turn to beth peshkin, a genetic counselor and professor of oncology at georgetown university and dr. kenneth offit, chief of clinical genetics services at memorial sloan-kettering center in new york. welcome to you both. so dr. offit, give us a little more elaboration on who exactly is at risk from this brca gene that we keep talking about? >> well, we should first make it clear that this is a minority of women with breast cancer. we think only about 5% of women with breast cancer will have this hereditary high-risk form. and those are the individuals who would benefit most from genetic testing. individuals who are very early
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age with breast cancer-- 30s and 40s-- we think all women with ovarian cancer should have genetic testing if you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer in your family, male prostate cancer can also run in these families and individuals who are of eastern european ashkenazi jewish heritage are also at increased risk for type of hereditary cancer, but it's still a small part of the overall amount of breast cancer. >> ifill: beth person kin, when we talk about genetic testing, what does that involve? >> the first step is genetic counseling. so the first step is to get a comprehensive risk assessment, learn about their personal and family history and determine exact what exactly risk is that they may carry an inherited form of the risk. >> ifill: are there options short of surgery? >> absolutely. and i think it's very important for people to understand that there are many different options for women to consider who find that they're at increased risk for breast cancer including
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screens such as early and frequent mammography, breast m.r.i., other options for risk reduction including tamoxifen as well as the surgical option that we've heard much about. >> ifill: but dr. offit, we're not necessarily talking about the same options for ovarian cancer, are we? >> that's a very important point and it's probably the most important point, one that we certainly learned when we published our paper at sloan-kettering about this. the surgery discussion here is focusing on breast cancer and as beth said that's an option to discuss. but the ovarian cancer surgery is not an option and we feel that this has to be done in women after child bearing because we have no means of finding ovarian cancer at an early stage. when we wrote that article, one of the really dramatic findings that we'll always remember was that 3% to 4% of these women, 3 to 4 out of 100 who had a preventative ovarian cancer surgery who had the brca gene
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and i'd never seen that until we started doing genetic testing. so while the focus is on breast cancer surgery your question is right, we want to think about the ovarian surgery first. >> ifill: i also want to ask you briefly, who's paying for. is there something that cover this is kind of radical almost elective surgely. is it covered by insurance? >> absolutely. and, you know, one of the fears that we have -- beth will remember, you know, she was with us in new york when we were first starting all of this and we were very nervous the insurance companies would actually discriminate against women and not only not insure them but charge them more. in fact, the insurance companies have acted the other way and have paid for the testing and, in fact, they'll even pay for these types of surgeries and the m.r.i.s beth alluded to. >> ifill: angelina jolie is not the first person to have gone through this but she is drawing a lot of attention to this. so a woman calls you -- i assume you get a lot of phone calls on a day like today saying "should by tested?
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am i susceptible to this?" what is the answer to those questions, people sitting home thinking "what about me?" >> the answer is to really consider it as a process of decision making and to make an informed choice. so people who do have an elevated risk of caring a mutation in one of these genes certainly should consider getting the testing and then consider what all of the options are for risk reductions and
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>> i think it's opened up a national discussion that's important thief femininity and sexuality are not defined only by one's breasts and that it's a complete picture of how shi feels about her confidence and ability to make decisions that are right for her. but i also think the other message is it's not just the
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option that she chose her surgery but it's the power of genetic testing and personalized medicine and it's important to get testing when it's indicated. >> ifill: dr. offit? >> it's always admirable when someone in the public eye shares health information to create this type of teachable moment we're having now. i taught for years cornell medical students the betty ford story. we remember after her diagnosis the number of ma'am graphic breast cancer diagnoses bumped and lives were saved and i this is that same opportunity watching this show tonight, some lives will be saved because women aware of their own family histories will be inspired to come in to talk to beth, to talk to us and to take these actions to detect cancers at a curable stage or to prevent them entirely. >> dr. kenneth offit of sloan-kettering in new york and dr. beth peshkin of georgetown, thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: president obama announced this
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evening that the acting i.r.s. commissioner has been forced out. that comes amid a storm of criticism over the targeting of conservative groups. and the white house released 100 pages of documents about last year's fatal attack on u.s. diplomats in benghazi, libya. >> ifill: online, a wake-up call for law school grads. kwame holman has more. >> holman: there's a surplus of lawyers and law grads often carry daunting student loan debt. what's to blame? we talked to the author of "the lawyer bubble" for answers. and on the rundown, find out how fast members of congress can run for charity. watch video of today's a.c.l.i. capital challenge race, captured by our "newshour" hatcam. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll examine how evangelical christians are shaping the immigration debate. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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